By: Danielle Spitz, IATG Contributor March 18, 2016
For female voters in this election, their dedication to women’s rights is often put into question when they consider supporting a candidate other than Hillary Clinton.
This quandary was highlighted by recent comments made by famous feminist, Gloria Steinem, and former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.
To begin, Steinem appeared on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Feb. 5 in which Maher pointed out that the majority of young women in the United States stand behind Bernie Sanders rather than Clinton. In response, Steinem claimed that young women are not so much concerned with Sanders’ policies, but rather that “The boys are with Bernie.”
As someone who looks up to Gloria Steinem as a trailblazer in the world of gender equality and a revolutionary for women everywhere, I was shocked to hear that this comment did indeed come from her. To insinuate that a woman chooses to support a potential future leader of our country simply because the “boys” seem to migrate towards his campaign is utterly offensive and untrue.
If Ms. Steinem has taught the world anything, it’s that women have the right to speak their minds and stand up for what they believe in just like any man. If a woman chooses to support Bernie Sanders, that is her prerogative. One would hope that a woman would have the right to choose, especially when it comes to the extremely serious matter of supporting a future president. The responsibility to vote is not something to be taken lightly, and it is naïve to assume all young women backing Sanders are in it for the guys.
After several outbreaks on social media from female supporters of Bernie resenting Steinem’s commentary, she took to Facebook and apologized for what she had said. While I still disagree with her comments, I appreciate Steinem’s ability to take responsibility for her mistakes and recognize when she misspeaks.
To make matters worse, Madeleine Albright caused another riot the very next day while speaking at a rally for Clinton. Albright urged young women to vote for Clinton, stating that they “have to help” her get the nomination if they want gender equality to be a realistic goal. To conclude, Albright brought out the big guns and finished with her notorious phrase, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”
Being a supporter of Hillary Clinton (despite the fact that I am not yet old enough to vote), even I felt threatened by these words. I completely disagree with the argument that women should vote for Hillary just because she is a woman. I support Hillary because I personally believe she is the most qualified candidate to run this country, not because I think having a woman in the Oval Office will finally bring equality for women.
While I do think that having a female president would be a tremendous step towards equality, I see that as a perk rather than a principal reason to support Clinton.
I was disappointed, yet again, to hear this come from such a highly respected professional as Ms. Albright, who has set the bar monumentally higher for women and proved we can hold our own in a field primarily dominated by men. It is unethical and painfully ironic to use gender as a means to attract voters to a campaign that makes gender equality a top priority.
Women are told to stay quiet about our rights and conceal the injustice we see on a daily basis, so when we have the chance to be heard, it’s a very powerful tool. We should not be wasting our words on offensive accusations or aggressive ultimatums, but instead on issues that really matter. The feminist movement involves the teaming up of women, not the ostracism of those who may support this candidate instead of that one.
What qualities do you look for in a candidate? What will having a woman in the oval office change about politics, culture, Feminism, or our media? Grab a pal or two and search the web or share your knowledge to learn more about our presidential candidates!
High school student Danielle Spitz is an aspiring journalist. She writes for her school newspaper and of course IATG! She loves reading, writing, running, binge watching anything on Netflix, shopping, and contributing to a world in which women build each other up and receive the respect they deserve.
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